YouTube star Tiba Ali is said to have been strangled by her father, prompting protests against “honor killings” in Iraq

Dozens of Iraqi protesters rallied on Sunday to condemn the so-called “honor killing” of a 22-year-old YouTube star who was allegedly strangled by her father, fueling calls for law reforms to protect women.

Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan announced on Friday that Tiba Ali was killed on January 31 in downtown Diwaniyah by her father, who then turned himself in to the police. The father reportedly strangled Ali at night while she was sleeping.

The so-called “honor killing” has been condemned by women’s rights groups and local residents, who have sounded the alarm about violence against women in Iraq and the need to reform legislation to punish perpetrators more severely.

Protesters carry a placard with a picture of Tiba Ali, a YouTube star who was recently killed by her father in Diwaniya, Iraq, Sunday February 5, 2023.

Hadi Mizban / AP

The demonstrators held up banners condemning the killing and calling for legal reforms. “There is no honor in the crime of killing women,” read one poster.

“Anyone who wants to get rid of a woman accuses her of offending her dignity and kills her,” protester Israa al-Salman, who also called for Ali’s father’s execution, told The Associated Press.

Some held placards that read, “Stop killing women” and “Tiba’s killer must be held accountable.”

Another protester, Lina Ali, said: “We will continue to mobilize because of the increase in domestic violence and the killing of women.”

Article 41 of the country’s penal code allows husbands to “discipline” their wives, which includes beatings. Meanwhile, Article 409 reduces murder sentences to up to three years in prison for men who kill or permanently impair their wives or female relatives for adultery.

Rosa al-Hamid, an activist with the civil society group Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, called on the authorities to pass a long-stalled domestic violence bill that has been sitting in Iraq’s parliament since 2019.

“Tiba was killed by her father under tribal justifications that are unacceptable,” she told the AP.

Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a press statement that violence against women and girls in Iraq will continue until “the Iraqi authorities pass tough laws to protect women and girls from gender-based violence.” .

The city police department and Diwaniyah hospital administration declined to comment to the AP on Ali’s death.

Iraqi activists are protesting after the death of Tiba al-Ali, a 22-year-old Iraqi blogger who was killed by her father in Baghdad
An Iraqi activist protests following the death of Tiba al-Ali, a 22-year-old Iraqi blogger who was killed by her father on February 5, 2023 in Baghdad, Iraq.


Tiba Ali had lived in Istanbul, Turkey and had a YouTube channel with over 20,000 subscribers documenting life in the Turkish city alongside her Syrian-born boyfriend, a real estate investor. In her first YouTube video in November 2021, Ali said she moved to Turkey to continue her education but decided to stay because she enjoyed life there.

Her father reportedly did not approve of the move, nor of her plans to marry her partner. Maan said Ali and her father had a heated argument while visiting Iraq and that the day before she was killed, local community police stepped in to help them reach an agreement.

Iraqi NGO Support Her Organization for Women’s Rights shared voice recordings Ali reportedly sent to friends the night before her death. In the recording, she confronts her mother and father about not returning to Iraq after her brother sexually assaulted her. The audio ends with her father yelling and hitting her as she screams in pain. The AP could not independently verify the authenticity of the voice recording.

On the sidelines of Sunday’s demonstration, human rights activist Hanaa Edwar was received by a judge from the Supreme Judicial Council, to whom she presented the protesters’ grievances.

The United Nations Mission in Iraq in a statement on Sunday condemned Ali’s “heinous murder” and called on the Baghdad government to “enact a law specifically criminalizing gender-based violence.”

AFP contributed to this report. YouTube star Tiba Ali is said to have been strangled by her father, prompting protests against “honor killings” in Iraq

Rick Schindler

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